No panic in Kailua-Kona as residents prep for hurricane

KAILUA-KONA — Despite Hawaii Island’s western flank sitting exposed to Hurricane Lane’s leeward path, some West Hawaii storm preppers were just as casual as they usually are.

Stores and offices closed early in preparation, but several people out and about didn’t seem nervous about a looming storm.

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“We’re supplementing what we have, really,” said Korie Nazara, shopping at Target with her children and her sister’s family.

Their carts were far from filled. They had some snacks, a few waters, and the carts looked more fitting of a last-minute errand than all out stock-up. They have plenty of supplies back at their homes, the outdoor furniture was all buttoned down. They used to it, after all.

“We’ve grown up in South Kona,” Kristy Nazara said.

North Kohala shopper Olivia, who didn’t want to give her last name, was unloading her groceries in the not-too-busy Safeway parking lot off Henry Street.

Her routine Kona grocery runs pack a lot of items, and Wednesday’s excursion wasn’t anything out of the ordinary, save some extra waters.

“This is regular big shop Kona,” she said. “I’m not really too concerned I guess.”

“This happens all the time,” she added. “I hope I’m not full of it.”

Lali and Dan Knowles were fully prepared to wait out the hurricane in the shelter at Kealakehe High School. They live on Alii Drive, a stone’s throw from the ocean and downhill from mauka runoff should rain blast the island. They had enough food packed in their car to last a week and planned to stay at the shelter with their dog and two kids just in case.

“It fills your mind with ease, and that’s what we’re looking for,” said Lani, who thought this watch felt different than previous ones.

She’s experienced Category 4 hurricanes living on the East Coast, and has seen what their destruction can do.

“We were walking around town and people weren’t taken it too seriously,” she said. “It reminds me of Puerto Rico a bit, ‘Maybe, it could hit us, we’ll probably be OK.’ I almost wonder if people feel a little too safe.”

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Canadian visitors Sebastian Ouimet and Melissa Lany checked out the Kealakehe shelter. They weren’t sure if they’d stay there, but said it was nice to know it was an option should they become more worried.

“We’re a little bit scared,” Ouimet said. “We’re taking it safe.”

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